The rise of space tourism could affect Earth's climate in unforeseen ways, scientists worry

Scientists worry that growing numbers of rocket flights and the rise of space tourism could harm Earth's atmosphere and contribute to climate change.

When billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos soared into space this month aboard their companies' suborbital tourism vehicles, much of the world clapped in awe.

But for some scientists, these milestones represented something other than just a technical accomplishment. Achieved after years of delays and despite significant setbacks, the flights marked the potential beginning of a long-awaited era that might see rockets fly through the so-far rather pristine upper layers of the atmosphere far more often than they do today. In the case of SpaceShipTwo, the vehicle operated by Branson's Virgin Galactic, these flights are powered by a hybrid engine that burns rubber and leaves behind a cloud of soot.

Click here to learn more

Open Navigation